Albuquerque Isotopes pitching coach Darryl Scott knows what it’s like to battle in the minor leagues. Scott’s baseball reference page features 16 games from the 1993 season with the California Angles, the only time he appeared in Major League Baseball. However he did put together a strong 10 year minor league career pitching everywhere from Ottawa to Yokohama, Japan. Scott has a unique view on the game.
“As a pitching coach I try to create an environment where guys are not just learning from me, they’re learning from one another,” Scott said in a radio interview on The Opening Drive… I probably learned more in my career from pitchers I played with more than I learned from the pitching coaches that I had, just from the standpoint I’m with those guys all the time.”
Scott’s current group of pitchers is highlighted by Jeff Hoffman. Through three starts Hoffman has a 1.62 ERA with 16 strikeouts and six walks in 16 2/3 innings pitched. In his third start Hoffman gave up six hits and three earned runs in 3.2 IP and was pulled after throwing 84 pitches. Those are the moments Rockies brass are looking for to see how a pitcher responds. Hoffman went six innings in his next start at Las Vegas. His 1.99 ERA is fifth best in the PCL.
“His spin rate is one of the highest spin rates on his curveball. It’s a phenomenal curveball,” Scott said of what’s impressed him early with Hoffman. “You don’t see too many young pitchers that have that kind of curveball or that kind of command on a curveball.”
Hoffman stands at 6-foot-5. He’s one of five pitchers on the Isotopes roster 6-foot-4 or taller. And Scott is working with those guys to utilize their size.
“Lets stand tall on the mound and throw the ball downhill and use that height to our advantage,” Scott said, showing all the angles he’s considering when working with his pitching staff.
A starter that is gaining momentum is 25 year-old right-hander Matt Flemer. Through four starts Flemer has thrown five or more innings in each outing including three quality starts. The closer from the University of California was selected in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Rockies. After posting a 3.50 ERA over 169 2/3 innings at Double-A last year, he’s making the most of his Triple-A debut this year.
From prospects to starters trying to find their confidence, Scott deals with it all. Colorado sent Jordan Lyles to Albuquerque after he gave up five or more runs in three of his first four starts this season. The 25 year-old hit the disabled list after 10 starts last season and never left it after toe surgery. The Rockies are hoping a stint with the Topes can get Lyles refocused as they’ll need starting options with Jorge De La Rosa‘s struggles and his own stint on the DL.
Scott dove deeper into the discussion of breaking pitches, dealing with altitude and the rest of the pitchers in our full conversation below.